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Rue McClanahan (1934)

Eddi-Rue McClanahan

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Rue McClanahan (February 21, 1934 – June 3, 2010) was an American actress, best known for her roles on television as Vivian Harmon on Maude, Fran Crowley on Mama's Family, and Blanche Devereaux on The Golden Girls, for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1987.


 early life
McClanahan was born Eddi-Rue McClanahan in Healdton, Oklahoma, the daughter of Methodist parents Dreda Rheua-Nell (née Medaris), a beautician, and William Edwin McClanahan, a building contractor.

She was of Irish and Choctaw, Native American ancestry. Her Choctaw great-grandfather was named Running Hawk according to her autobiography My First Five Husbands... and the Ones Who Got Away . She grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma; she graduated from Ardmore High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Tulsa; she majored in German and Theater, and was a member of the woman's fraternity Kappa Alpha Theta. She was also a National Honor Society Member.

 early career
McClanahan made her professional stage début at Pennsylvania's Erie Playhouse in 1957, in the play Inherit the Wind. She began acting on off-Broadway in New York City in 1957, but did not make her Broadway début until 1969, when she portrayed Sally Weber in the original production of John Sebastian and Murray Schisgal's musical, Jimmy Shine, with Dustin Hoffman in the title role.

Her role as Caroline Johnson on Another World brought her notoriety. On the show, while taking care of twins Michael and Marianne Randolph, Caroline fell in love with their father, John, and began poisoning their mother, Pat. The short-term role was extended to more than a year before Caroline was finally brought to justice after kidnapping the twins. Once her role on Another World ended, McClanahan joined the cast of the CBS soap Where the Heart Is, in which she played Margaret Jardin.

 television work
  • Another World
  • Where the Heart Is (1971–1972)
  • Hogan's Goat
  • All in the Family (1972; 1 episode: "The Bunkers and the Swingers")
  • The Rimers of Eldritch
  • Maude (1972–1978)
  • Apple Pie
  • Lou Grant
  • Gimme A Break (1981–1987; 2 episodes)
  • Newhart
  • Alice 1 episode, played a nursery school teacher, "Mother Goose" aka "Betty Muffet".
  • Mama's Family as Aunt Fran (1983–1985).
  • Murder, She Wrote (1985; 1 episode: "Murder Takes the Bus")
  • The Golden Girls (1985–1992)
  • The Little Match Girl
  • The Man in the Brown Suit
  • The Wickedest Witch
  • Children of the Bride
  • Baby of the Bride
  • The Dreamer of Oz: The L. Frank Baum Story
  • Dame Edna's Hollywood 1 episode, herself.
  • The Golden Palace (1992–1993)
  • Mother of the Bride
  • Boy Meets World
  • Touched By an Angel
  • Columbo (1998; 1 episode: "Ashes to Ashes")
  • A Saintly Switch
  • Safe Harbor
  • Blue's Clues
  • Ladies Man
  • Touched by an Angel
  • Wonderfalls
  • Hope & Faith
  • King of the Hill
  • Sordid Lives: The Series
  • Law & Order
  • Celebrity Ghost Stories
  • Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns

other work
She also appeared as a leader of Al-Anon in a 1970s informational video called "Slight Drinking Problem," in which Patty Duke played the enabling and eventually self-empowered wife of an alcoholic. In feature films McClanahan starred in 1961's The Rotten Apple, as well as Walk the Angry Beach in 1968. In 1971 she played a vicious fag hag in the film Some of My Best Friends Are..., which was set in a gay bar. In 1990, McClanahan starred as Matilda Joslyn Gage, mother-in-law of L. Frank Baum in the made-for-TV movie The Dreamer of Oz.

McClanahan guest-starred on Newhart, and played Aunt Fran Crowley on the first two seasons of Mama's Family. She also voice-acted in cartoons, voicing Scarlett in the 1997 Fox Christmas special Annabelle's Wish. She was Grandma on the Blue's Clues video Blue's Big Treasure Hunt . In the 1994 Spider-Man: The Animated Series episode "Doctor Octopus: Armed And Dangerous", she was Anastasia Hardy. The 2007 King of the Hill episode "Hair Today, Gone Today" cast her as Bunny. In 2009, she appeared in an episode of Law & Order as a woman who had an affair with John F. Kennedy.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Rue McClanahan", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.